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Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Annie Blair became president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1894, after Grace Soltau's departure for Sydney.

She lived in Launceston with her husband Robert Blair (occupation unknown) but they were not wealthy citizens.

Under her energetic leadership of the WCTU, branches and membership increased, working in 43 departments. Members distributed literature, provided an alternative to alcohol through coffee booths at shows and regattas, held franchise meetings and organized petitions. In 1895, for example, she attended 98 meetings and also dealt with a large correspondence.

On her resignation in 1898, she claimed there was less prejudice against the Union, and drunkenness had decreased. She was critical however, of the many apathetic women who were 'satisfied to go to their graves without having made a single creature better or happier outside the narrow circle they call "home" but which is really "self"'.

References :

Alexander, A., The Public Role of Women in Tasmania, 1803-1914, Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Tasmania, 1989

Jordan, R., White-Ribboners: the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Tasmania, 1885-1914, Unpublished BA Hons thesis, University of Tasmania, 2001

This entry was researched and written by Wendy Rimon, B.A.

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